TED Conversations

Arjuna Nagendran

Doctor,

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In the aftermath of war, genocide, or exploitation - Forgiveness helps more than justice.

Saw a fantastic TEDx talk today about the reactions of people after the ends of wars and genocides.. Examples from north Uganda, Sri Lanka and countless other conflicts worldwide.

What do you feel is the best way to address peoples' suffering?

Retribution from the judicial system? Or simply to forgive your enemies and move on?

Interested for opinions on this one..

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  • Oct 15 2012: I say forgiveness.

    I probably sound to idealistic, but here it goes!

    To want the need for revenge is natural, because we all desire justice. However, I think that the line between justice and retribution is really blurry. But the distance I draw is that in justice, you are not in the state of mind that your oppresor was in when he/she caused pain to the victims. When you want retribution or revenge, you really are not any different from the passions of your oppresor.

    Just because you forgive someone, though, does not mean you are apt to erase the consequences of their actions; after all, there are consequences for everything you do.

    Retribution and revenge solve nothing, and if you give in to it, all you do is go around in a never-ending circle of pain, regret, guilt, and anger. The only way to break that is to forgive. It provides closure for both sides, and provides a new fresh start for both sides as well.

    For me, there should consequences if someone killed others, but it should not vengeful. Justice must be done as peaceful as it should be, and try to restore the individual to his full humanity. If he/she does not wish so, then this individual would be too much of a threat to others, and it would be our responsibility to keep this individual away from society. In short, the judicial system should be built to demonstrate our humanity, and the loss of the individual own self. Not the other way around.

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